Frank Lampard has backed under-fire midfielder Mason Mount to turn things around at Manchester United after a poor start to life at Old Trafford.
Signed in the summer from Chelsea in a blockbuster £60 million move, Mount has failed to fully settle at his new club. A combination of a poorly defined role and a team in transition meant the midfielder struggled early in the season.
Since this point, recurring injuries have conspired to rule him out for large parts of his debut year.
But with Mount potentially set to return from his latest absence ahead of United’s trip to Newport County, his former manager at Chelsea and Derby has backed him to “come good” in Erik ten Hag’s team in the second half of the season.
Lampard reveals how signing Mount on loan at Derby “changed everything” for the 45-year-old at the Pride Park Stadium.
“From my point of view, because I took him to Derby, he changed everything there for me really. Him and [Fikayo] Tomori and [Harry] Wilson, but Mason particularly, his level in training was a high, high level. Pressing brilliant, off-the-ball stuff brilliant, if you want to give him information he takes it like that [clicks fingers].
“Will jump [forward to press], will recover, will jump, will recover. A great lad, good technically, very good technically.”
Ten Hag has been seeking to implement a transition-based system at Old Trafford this year, reliant upon a high-press designed to force turnovers up the pitch. He’s also, throughout both his seasons as United manager, been attempting to instil hard work and professionalism as non-negotiable tenets in his dressing room.
Given Lampard’s view of Mount as one of a “high-level” trainer and a “brilliant” presser, even if he’s yet to impress in a United shirt, it’s easy to see why the Dutch manager prioritised signing Mount in the summer.
The former player-turned-manager also believes the 24-year-old’s determined personality will not allow him to fail.
“He’s very driven. If you drop him, his face goes straight away – he’s one of those. Not in a bad way, but he’s like, “I want to show you”. He will absolutely want to show you [he deserves to play], he’s very determined like that. I’m not just saying that because he’s my lad a bit and I’ve had a relationship on the pitch in terms of managing him, but I do think he’ll come good because of that and because of his talent.”
Mount will need every ounce of this inner determination to vanquish the powerful number seven curse which has plagued Old Trafford since Antonio Valencia gave up the shirt in 2014.